Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Funded Abuse of Nigerian Orphans

By | April 24, 2017

After reading this article I would urge you to sign the petition.  I have placed three links to the page in this article where you can do that.

Take action – sign the petition here.

When I think of Evangelicalism today suffice it to say that my head is not filled with pleasant thoughts. I could write a litany of detailed corruption amongst the celebrity leadership, and in fact I initially did so, but instead of rehashing the many negative stories I chose to delete a few hours of work, assuming that my readers will not contest the fact that American Evangelicalism is a ship that is badly listing.

I want to instead highlight Reformation Baptist Church, a small church in Youngsville, NC that has reassured me that there are still some local churches that are fighting the good fight. What this church has done in researching the corruption in Nigeria VOM is amazing and quite commendable.

I received the following email two days ago:

Hello Todd,
 
I am writing to you, because I am hoping you will be able to help us expose this evil situation that is going on in Nigeria. A group visiting there for ministry from our church was told of a very sad situation where the girls in an orphanage that Voice of the Martyrs runs in Nigeria (the Stephens Center) were being abused by their staff. 
 
The director: Isaac Newton, has habitually abused the girls, and then has taken them to have their babies aborted, and one of the girls has even had to have her womb removed.
 
Other than the sexual abuse that goes on, the children are not fed or provided for adequately – and VOM has advertised this Orphanage and raised money for it!
 
Isaac Newton is now trying to cover up and discredit us, so that he can continue in his wicked ways. He has threatened the girls he has abused not to speak up, and also his former employees who blew the whistle on him.
 
We’ve spent the last year fighting to get justice for these girls and to get VOM to stop the evil and make sure it never happens again. We have been in lengthy contact with members from them, sending all the board members the video well before we released it last week. We contacted Richard Wurmbrand, the founder’s son, (Editors note: they actually contacted Michael Wurmbrand, Richard’s son.) and he has told us that VOM is fully corrupt and will not deal with it.
 
So far he seems to be right, they have shown themselves to be more interested in covering up the scandal than doing the right thing. They told us they defunded him, but then gave him $100,000 worth of property and materials. So now we’re trying to shine the light of truth on this darkness. Would you help us by making this video more available to the public and asking people to sign the petition that we’ve created,  calling VOM to do an outside investigation, and be open about what went on there? 
 
 
We have put together a video and website   persecutingthepersecuted.com
Thank you very much,
 
Andrea Horn from Reformation Baptist Church 

Isaac Newton, VOM leader in Nigeria charged with raping many girls entrusted to his care.

Prior to getting into the important issues that the Reformation Baptist Church has raised, I believe it would be helpful to review the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) organizaton.

“The Voice of the Martyrs was founded in 1967 by Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Lutheran/Anglican pastor, who had worked with the underground church in Romania after it was taken over by the USSR in 1944.  As a consequence, he was imprisoned for 14 years for preaching Christianity but was eventually freed to the west after a ransom was paid for his release.

In 1966, Wurmbrand testified before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate about the treatment that Christians received under Communist governments, raising worldwide interest in Christian persecution, and through his influence several missions were founded around the world to help support Christians who suffered under Communist persecution. After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, these missions expanded their focus to include those suffering religious persecution in Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist societies.

In April 2012 the executive director of VOM-USA, Walter Thomas “Tom” White, committed suicide after a Bartlesville police investigation opened with him as a suspect for child sexual abuse of a ten-year-old female. On March 14, 2014, the son of the founder and longstanding employee of the ministry, Michael Wurmbrand of Torrance, California, called for an independent commission to fully investigate the matter within the nonprofit over a period of years as Thomas R. Holland, the police chief was a board member as well as other financial related matters involving the construction of a $28M headquarters building and concerns over a vice president who was an embezzlement felon. All allegations relate only to VOM-USA and are unrelated to other VOM missions worldwide.”
-Wikipedia

Below is an excerpt from an article on Tom White’s suicide, found in Christianity Today.

AN OPEN LETTER CONCERNING “THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS”

Dear Friend:

Those who read my website know that I am very fond of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife Sabina.  My wife and I knew them quite well.  They spoke in our church many times.  I can vouch for Pastor Wurmbrand’s absolute integrity.  But we have received disturbing news from Pastor Wurmbrand’s son Michael concerning “The Voice of the Martyrs,” located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  I am advising our church not to send any more donations to “The Voice of the Martyrs” until they clear up the questions raised by Michael Wurmbrand.  Michael is a 75-year-old man.  He is very serious and he is concerned about his father’s and mother’s names being used to raise money that he says is not going to the persecuted peoples of the world, but is rather being misused by “The Voice of the Martyrs.”  Please click here to read Michael Wurmbrand’s accusation against “The Voice of the Martyrs.”  I wish I didn’t have to report this to you, but I feel compelled to as a friend of the late Pastor Richard Wurmbrand.  You can contact Michael Wurmbrand after 6:00 PM by phoning him at (310)544-0814. Or you can email him at wurmbrandm@yahoo.com.

Yours in Jesus’ Name,

Pastor R. L. Hymers, Jr.
D.Min., Th.D., Litt.D.
Philippians 4:13

 

“After I brought all of these facts to light, I was asked also to keep quiet, not to rock the boat. Before being laid off I was offered substantial contractual financial incentives not to “badmouth” VOM. Some of the organizations endorsing Voice of the Martyrs have interrelated employees and interests. When I approached them, they were shy and sore afraid for their own interests to insist my letter be answered. Some pathetic answers like: “Do not cast the first stone,” “king Solomon made mistakes ,” “we might also sin” or “promise to keep correspondence private only” displayed the hypocrisy to protect the flow of donations rather than any interest in protecting possible children victims! Some answers were outright sarcastic, as if my requesting a proper investigation regarding suspected pedophilia among “Christian missionaries” would be some joke.”
-Michael Wurmbrand, son of the founder of “The Voice of the Martyrs,” Richard Wurmbrand.

 

[gview file=”http://wurmbrandmichael.com/index.pdf” save=”0″]

 

The Reformation Baptist Church, through circumstances described in the video below, became aware of  gross mismanagement of funds in the Voice of Martyrs Nigeria. Most of the money came from Voice of Martyrs in America. In addition the church was also made aware of terrible abuse occuring at an orphanage in Abeokuta, Nigeria. This orphanage is called Stephen Centre and was run by Isaac Newton,  head man of VOM in Nigeria.

 

I would urge you to watch the video below.  It is about 45 minutes in length. The Reformation Baptist Church did an outstanding job of researching and producing this;  it will definitely awaken a righteous anger in you.  Once you have watched it you will want to sign the petition. I suggest you will also want to cease contributing to VOM.  As Michael Wurmbrand stated, they are fully corrupt.

 

Take action – sign the petition here.

 

Below is a short, four minute excerpt from the video.

 

 

 

 

Take action – sign the petition here.

 

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Ann Gooch

Karen and Amir, Because I am one who likes to research the organizations I support, a year ago I began this process of looking into VOM ministries. A woman in our congregation had been quite zealous in her recommendation of VOM to our congregation. She attended a VOM conference and was deeply affected by the commitment to assist the persecuted church. As a result, she approached our pastor and it was eventually decided to get hand-outs (their magazines and prayer cards) and place them in the vestibule. Later he decided to promote VOM by showing the film on Richard Wurmbrandt’s life entitled after his book “Tortured for the Faith.” We held a showing this past Spring, but we had to commit to paying VOM $9.00 per person. It was then that I began to feel squirmy inside. I had kept my concerns to myself. I was deeply troubled by the facts I read concerning Tom White’s suicide and the circumstances that were believed to have prompted his death. The more I read, the more troubled I became. I had so many questions. And yet, I had this conclusion — this is beyond me to ever be enabled to really know the truth. I realize that I have become somewhat hardened by all the things I’ve read on the internet, things I’ve thought were true, but then come to find out were misinterpretations or reports that I got caught up in and eventually realized were a complete distrction, taking me down rabbit trails that I simply never should have known about. I guess I must have checked some box to be kept updated when new posts were made in this thread. And now? Now I’m faced again with the question — what should I do? It bothered me that a ministry was requiring a $9.00 per person “donation” for viewing this film. Why? Because it said to me that they had come up with another way to get funding rather than simply trust the Lord to provide for their ministry. If the gospel was freely given and we are to freely give — what did this all have to do with how the Spirit of God leads His people? Was it not more in line with the spirit of this world? Our congregation ended up paying half of each person’s ticket, so those who came who felt they could not afford it, we “gave” to these individuals. Yet, in reality, we gave to VOM because they required this for the privilege of hearing the story by film format. I kept having the pictures in my mind of their older facility vs. their new $28 million dollar facility. I kept wondering…..wondering…..wondering….. Did the $28 millions come from the donations given to promote ministering to the persecuted church? Did Christians give funds that never got to those they THOUGHT were benefitting from their giving? Did VOM ever once print in their monthly magazines their plans for their new building? Did they ask for donations towards this “NEED” that were separate from the donations given to go to the persecuted church? The bottom-line question I still have concerns the stewardship of financial donations. If this was amiss and has never been answered faithfully, why? My wonderings have led to what could indeed be a godly discernment – possibly. So, I venture to share my thoughts fully. Please note each “IF” that prefaces each thought below: IF indeed the love of money above transparency and full-out-there honesty over their financial dealings — if VOM failed to get funds for the new building in a manner God could bless — IF any greed was behind the $160 K salary paid to Tom White — If those who made decisions for VOM indeed were deceptive – Were we not then possibly seeing the fruit of God’s removal of His blessing and protection? The love of money is the root of all evil. The door to what happened in Tom White’s life, in the Nigerian orphanage — must not there have been AN OPEN door of rebellion to truth, of snuffing out conviction, of turning aside from the way that IS RIGHT in GOD’S SIGHT? If indeed there was a mishandling of God’s funds, then I believe the devil was successful in his attacks against those who profess to know and love God, but whose works denied God. I believe what occurred then was the compromising of conviction and turning instead to a way that APPEARS to be right. For if these motives were being hidden from others but known by God? Then the end of Tom White’s life was destruction. His physical life was destroyed by the devil using his own hands. If anyone else knew something was amiss when Tom White was at the leadership of VOM and failed to hold him countable? Did not all of this give place to the destroyer? And what is the end of all that was reported of the Nigerian orphanage? What has transpired there? These questions are what I need to have answers for – for once again, I am in a dither. Once again our congregation is to have a VOM representative visit to share about this ministry. And I have been afraid to present these things to our pastor, for fear of being marked as a critic. I wanted to put these current struggles before you, Karen and Amir, for your reflection and comment, should you care to help me. I have been wondering if anyone else in our congregation has heard what I’ve heard. If so, I wonder if they have responded the same way I’ve responded. “I’d better not say anything about my concerns to anyone. For how can we ever really know the truth? And surely, VOM is getting help to the persecuted church, surely God is still using VOM, is he not?” I would rather be given the opportunity to judge myself and repent now of all evil than to suffer the righteous… Read more »

Karen

Your timeline of events is very skewed. Michael was not an employee of VOM in the way you are implying, nor in the way his rambling diatribes would have you believe.

It is interesting to note that none of his long rambling letters was ever mailed out until a year after the situation occurred. I was there at the office with him. He never said a word. To anyone. (not as if I was in a position of authority, btw, but even so, you hear things.)

Michael is a sweet man who has endured much. His parents decided to leave someone else in charge at VOM and that should speak volumes. It isn’t saying he’s corrupt. It is saying that running such an organization is not in his skill set. But he has yet to come to grips with the simple fact that he’s not in charge.

Why wouldn’t VOM do everything they could possibly do to refute,abolish and destroy any and all accusations of any type if improprieties of any kind by what ever means at their disposal? The investigation needs to be done. Whether anyone ever believes the report or not they will be able to stand before God with clean hands. If there is nothing there then there is nothing but if there is by God they better deal with it and do so swiftly. Let’s remember God does not sleep nor does he slumber and all things that are hidden if any will be revealed. We must fervently pray for all those involved.

I wonder if the investigation of the Stephens Center might be a job for the International Justice Mission. They were instrumental in bringing down human trafficking rings in Cambodia.

Karen Linton

Amir,

I clearly posted that I’ve no idea re the veracity of the accusations about Nigeria, and I can certainly state that no one at VOM-USA is deliberately funding sexual abuse of children.

I also know that saying, He/She would never do that! means nothing re child abuse. As a former victim of child sexual assault, I do have some firsthand knowledge of what goes on and how it happens without others knowing about it.

I’m just amazed (in a bad way) how folks are so quick to jump on a bandwagon and say, this entire organization is bad, all have bad motives, etc with no personal knowledge.

On the other hand, I also know that no matter how spiritual anyone may appear, we all have clay feet. But we usually fail to remember that when we can point the finger at someone else and, in the doing, make ourselves look better. I’ve been guilty plenty of times myself.

Anyway, I didn’t actually originally post here to argue with anyone. I worked there for a number of years as both a volunteer and as paid staff and it remains one of only two ministries our family supports other than our local church. The people being accused are my friends and family. Since I was working there through part of this time, I was also accused. I’ve been there with folks weeping over persecuted Christians, praying for persecuted Christians, trying to find new ways to help them, to get Bibles and aid to them. I am still very passionate about this, thus it is a very personal attack.

I saw responses to this post turn into attacks on Franklin Graham and on GFA. Really?!? Every other Christian organization in the world except this little group is corrupt or not a true Christian?!? And folks wonder why I’d get vehement?

How about this, I know that most folks are settled now. They have made up their minds that VOM is using funds for the persecuted church to support child sexual assault. Because of, at best, a misguided internet post. No answer from VOM will satisfy. No proof will work. They’re accused, judged and found wanting. Because if it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?

Unfortunately, this cannot be walked back. Even with a retraction. Even if VOM supplies every smidgeon of proof you’re requesting, folks will still believe the lie.

That is why I’m upset. The damage done to a ministry whose heart and soul is poured into helping Christians that have no voice is incalculable. In America we don’t need persecution from the government. We have other Christians to handle that job.

I’m not so much “settled” in this as I am desirous to get to the truth. I’m sick and tired of ministers–flying the banner of Jesus and promoting ostensibly conservative theology–harming children and, worse, the larger Body covering for those wolves.

It doesn’t look good for GFA, and I’d say there are some smoking guns with VOM. I say that in spite of being a supporter of both over the years.

Thanks, Amir. We’re not publishing any more of Karen’s comments, so she won’t be able to respond to you on this blog.

From what I’ve seen, VOM is refusing to investigate credible allegations of misconduct pertaining to any number of issues, including financial improprieties and sexual abuse. In my view, that should be grounds for revoking its non-profit status. People like Karen can support VOM, but American tax-payers certainly shouldn’t have to subsidize its activities, in my view.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

This quote strikes a chord:

That is why I’m upset. The damage done to a ministry whose heart and soul is poured into helping Christians that have no voice is incalculable. In America we don’t need persecution from the government. We have other Christians to handle that job.

At my wife’s former church, a man was discovered by his wife to be touching their oldest daughter inappropriately. She demanded that he go to the pastor. (She wanted the church to handle this “in-house”.)

The pastor, thankfully, did the right thing: he insisted that the offending husband IMMEDIATELY turn himself into authorities or face an immediate excommunication hearing (which would have resulted in his being reported to authorities). He was promptly arrested, charged, pled guilty, and–to make a long story short–he served his time. Today, that man is a completely different person: very humble and unassuming. He faced the music and faced who he had become. The justice process was an integral part of that.

But some people, including the wife of that man, were angry at the pastor. One of the arguments was that, by bringing this out into the open, it was damaging the cause of the Gospel.

That reminds me of what other prominent leaders have done when they were caught in scandals.

When the late Jack Hyles was confronted over allegations of sexual improprieties, his defense would be along the lines of, “You’re just trying to destroy fundamentalism!” (Sadly, he got away with that, as his church never held him accountable.) When Jim Bakker was under investigation regarding his scandals, he said he wanted this to be resolved “for the sake of the Gospel.”

I would contend that it’s the other way around: we need to root out these abusers–and their enablers–EXACTLY BECAUSE OF THE GOSPEL. And if these philanderers and abusers really cared about the Gospel, they’d do God a great service by not putting themselves in position to bring God’s name into disrepute.

I am a Christian of Kurdish-Iranian descent; my father is a Muslim. If I went to Iran today, I would run the risk of becoming a pawn in another international incident. If I were not married, I’d be in Kurdistan taking the fight to ISIS on account of Christians and Yazidis. I’m sensitive to the oppression of Christians.

Having said that, I don’t want to be party to people who rape children and then hide behind the Gospel. That does exactly what David did to earn the “Thou art the man!” rebuke. And trust me, the Muslims and other non-Christians in those countries are paying attention to it.

I won’t say that folks like Karen are bad people; the problem is they sometimes shelve that admonition to be “wise as serpents”. As a result, they fail to see what they see.

Great comment! Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Karen claims to be a good Christian. However, at no point, in this lengthy exchange, does she show even a little compassion toward victims of child sexual abuse, in any context.

What message does that send the world about Karen’s true beliefs?

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Exactly. The problem is that otherwise “good” people will insist that the accused are “good” Christians–and thus dismiss accusations against them. In the process, they unwittingly (a) enable the abusers, and (b) keep the victims in a state of bondage to those abusers.

And you know what those victims learn? They learn that you can’t trust the church, because their “system” is more important to the powers that be than the plight of those being harmed by predators in that “system”.

As for Karen, I have no doubt that she is correct in that there were financial controls in place. But you know what? She can’t prove that none of the top dogs didn’t have a back door into the system. And like the one commenter said, “visits” to orphanages can be carefully orchestrated.

Karen

Amir,

Matthew 18 is quite clear on how to handle issues within the church. I have problem following those steps. Nor do I have a problem following the steps in your story above. That’s exactly the way it should go.

Posting diatribes on the internet, however, is not one of those ways. That is what concerns me.

Wrong.

At the very least, VOM is enabling child sexual abuse by refusing to investigate credible allegations that children are being molested, or even raped, at an entity that VOM bears some responsibility for funding and managing.

And at the very least, you are enabling child sexual abuse by declaring, clearly, that you think it’s legally acceptable and moral for VOM to refuse to investigate child sexual abuse allegations just because they’re made against people who call themselves “Christians.”

People like you make me embarrassed to call myself a Christian.

End of story. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

In my last long post, I mistakenly said “Christians caught philandering in the US, Europe, Nigeria or any other region have actually boasted of those acts.”. I meant to type “Christians caught philandering in the US, Europe, Nigeria or any other region do NOT or hardly ever actually boast of those acts.”

I’m deeply troubled and perplexed by the charges in this video. I’m a professor in a university upstate NY and a long term donor to VOM causes. I teach on trauma, recovery, healing and reconciliation. After the Boko Haram crisis broke out, I’ve visited this orphanage three times without notice, met and played with the children, chatted with the girls and young men, helped ship dozens of cartons of children’s books, toys and materials (funded by my church in upstate NY) for the library at this home. There I met 3 of the young girls rescued from the Chibok crisis and taken 6 graduate students along to meet and act as big sisters to the children. I’ve been in their dormitories and met the kitchen staff. Our fellow church in Maryland has also been there several times and helped build the new kitchen (as they were cooking outdoors up to 2016). I correspond personally via email and phone messages with several of the young people in Stephen’s home- they tell me about their progress through high school and now some of them have gone through college because of the Director’s impassioned push for them to be successful. He raises support for them and they might be the only orphanage in Nigeria with several students in college and heading to do a Masters degree. I am presently helping arrange a college trip to my university for some of these graduates of Stephen’s home. When I visited in 2016, I was amused and laughing as some of the young men regaled me with tales of local and foreign donors who get upset because they look well taken care off, of a governor who sent goods to them and after the photo-op, the driver loaded the food back in the van and drove off. I have 3 children of my own here in the USA – 2 in college and one post college, and I scan the children’s faces carefully when I go, listen to their tales and laughter and have private meetings with the girls, to see how they are recovering from trauma. More than my reputation is at stake, their lives depend on how seriously the church cares. So yes, I would be shaken if indeed these charges were true. I look forward to a thorough investigation – but of both the accuser and the accused. I am deeply troubled by two things at least: First, it is problematic that Dan Horn and his son have NEVER visited this orphanage in Abeokuta and thus base their video and charges on conversations with a couple of individuals accused of corruption by the board and in a state far away from the orphanage. I know for the fact and from experience that the orphanage is completely open to visitors. I rarely even inform them before visiting and thousands of people have simply turned up at their doors and are taken around, they get to meet and speak to the children, and even go to their classes or dormitories. Are Africans deserving of a lesser measure of justice than Americans? To accuse someone of these crimes without even having taken the basic step of visiting and meeting the students is abhorrent and ungodly. There should have been due diligence by the Horns- who enjoy the American liberty and protections of laws that ensure we are considered innocent until proven guilty. As a servant of God, I intend to do due diligence and thoroughly investigate the allegations, but I will do that in the right way. I have met the children and staff and will be working with a broad representative team. To the Horns, I have to say, I cannot believe that men of goodwill will launch such a campaign against an orphanage without even taking the basic step of going to the location. What were you thinking of? Secondly: while I cannot speak to some of the charges by the folks in your video until I have had a chance to look more closely at the documentation on both sides, I can say that at least one of your respondents in the video told a blatant lie. The female figure who claimed the director Isaac Wusu said some girls had been living with him for many years and were now his wives and cooking for him was clearly delusional or a liar. Unlike you, the hundreds of Christians from overseas who have actually visited the center have met Mrs. Wusu- she is a lovely Christian lady, they live together in their very monogamous apartment with their cute little boys. When I visited with the grad students, she hosted our entire group to a lovely lunch – absolutely monogamous apartment with no girls or other wives. Indeed, her only hope was that someday they would have more hands and folks helping to reduce the burden. They welcomed and hoped to have genuine relief workers join the work. It is laughable, absurd and tragic to imagine that the Christian community in Nigeria is so bereft of the knowledge of Christian doctrine that a leader and reverend (Isaac Wusu is such) would actually calmly and publicly state that he has married the orphaned girls and has them cooking for him. This is the point where the Horns lost credibility in my eyes completely. All you had to do, sirs, was to take the trouble of a local flight, go to his home and the orphanage and check out the truth of what you had been told. He would be swiftly excommunicated from any of the churches. That you could believe that a Christian leader said this in Nigeria is evidence of the shamefully debased, imperialistic and patronizing attitude of American Christians who think they have the last word in doctrine. Christians caught philandering in the US, Europe, Nigeria or any other region have actually boasted of those acts. Please listen to the sermons of any of the Nigerian churches supporting the VOM ministry and Stephen’s home… Read more »

In my view, you have presented no facts or intelligent reasoning in your long, convoluted, and tedious rant that is full of personal attacks against everyone you disagree with.

Contrary to what you think, people who seem to be good Christians are indeed capable of doing very bad things.

VOM is a deeply financially corrupt organization irrespective of the credible allegations of abuse referenced in Nigeria in this article.

If you choose to comment again, please review this blog’s comment policy and do so in a mindful, polite way.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Karen Linton

Since I used to work there, I know the financial abuse allegations are completely false. Those accusations all stem from Michael’s jealousy because he wanted to be appointed Director of the mission and nothing more.

How does having worked there make you an objective, reliable source of information pertaining to alleged financial fraud?

Are you a licensed accountant? Did you ever see the financial records in question?

The tone and content of your message suggests, to me, that you’re not basing your opinion on facts pertaining to the organization’s financial records.

Am I wrong?

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Karen Linton

You’re wrong. I worked in financial services and routinely saw not only how money was handled, but was there as independent auditors came through yearly. They were (are) demanding in standards and VOM never failed to meet those standards.

As I said above, taking facts and skewing them to appear evil may serve the purposes of Michael Wirmbrand, but not God’s purposes. His biggest two issues were that he wanted to be appointed Director because of his name and he didn’t want to expand the ministry outside of Eastern Europe and the former USSR to any real extent. It’s nearly as if persecution outside that area doesn’t much exist to him.

What this smear campaign of yours does is without your very own personal experience, take facts skewed by rumors and innuendo and put them forth as a new truth. You attempt to read intent in something that you cannot read intent in.

Example? Michael rants about the new building. He neglects to tell you that VOM was headquartered in 3 separate locations around Bartlesville and req’d massive maintenance and upkeep, especially for the main office. Never mind tbat there was not enough space for staff or volunteers.

VOM was always very open about building the new facility and persistently published updates and financials about the entire thing.

I just wonder that this church and all associated with this website have nothing better to do than to tear down other believers, to assume that all of these people whom you have never met are all swindlers, wolves, etc. and then to fly a “we’re exposing evil” banner as you do it. When you’ve never been to the ministry. When you’ve never met the people you’re maligning. Me being one of them, btw.

First, I have not maligned and have no interest in maligning you, dear. I initially invited you to substantiate your unsubstantiated comments about Michael’s lack of integrity and you responded with nothing but personal attacks.

Second, can you provide any sources or documentation to back up what you’ve said in your most recent comment?

“VOM was always very open about building the new facility and persistently published updates and financials about the entire thing.”

Where can this documentation be found?

I’m surprised you didn’t mention all that initially and find it hard to believe that a licensed financial services professional would let her biases affect her judgment to to the point that she comes across as being very unprofessional.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

I just wonder that this church and all associated with this website have nothing better to do than to tear down other believers, to assume

On what evidence are you basing that assumption? Many of the articles on this site pertain to exposing and stopping child sexual abuse in many contexts. Are you saying that it’s unbiblical to call out pedophiles and those who support them, just because the abuse takes place at Chuches? The tone and content of your posts seems to suggest that that’s what you really believe.

When you’ve never been to the ministry.

We personally interact with child sexual abuse survivors and their families all the time. Do you?

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Karen, we’ve been patient so far, but the guidelines of this website mandate that people substantiate their comments with sourced facts or intelligent arguments. Most of your posts have failed to meet that standard.

Please provide sources and refrain from personally attacking the people who read this blog, if you wish to comment further.

Thanks! Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Karen: the problem here is that we have conflicting accounts from people who used to work there. Mr. Jesperson, who also worked there, has a riveting, first-hand account of the deceit, immorality, and impropriety that he saw at VOM. You, OTOH, have responded with a dismissal without providing any proof.

I have personal friends who, over the years, flew the VOM banner. Personally, I was always supportive of the Wurmbrands and all they stood for.

Having said that, there are some damning accusations and more than a few smoking guns. That begs a larger investigation.

Karen Linton

I never met Jesperman. I cannot talk about the veracity of his personal experience, but I can address that you’ve published his “I’ve heard from X about …” and “I heard from my friend’s brother’s ex-girlfriend’s stepsister that Y did …” Sorry, but the mere fact that you would publish rumors and rely on it as fact tells me that none of your testimony is reliable.

Perhaps some or all of your story about the Stephen Centre is true. I cannot answer to that. But I can no longer look at anything on your page as a credible source. You take rumors from a disgruntled former contract employee/volunteer as gospel?

You take rumors from a disgruntled former contract employee/volunteer as gospel?

Aren’t you arguing that we should take your beliefs/rumors at face value just because you claim to be a former employee?

But I can no longer look at anything on your page as a credible source.

It’s obvious to me that you haven’t even bothered to read any of the articles on this site. The feeling regarding credibility is mutual, Karen. Please take your comments elsewhere. Thanks! Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

I want to address a couple things in your comment.

1. Your basic assumption is false. Dan Horn, my father, has visited the Stephen’s Center, in January 2014. Jeff Arnette has been several times. The video is based, in some part. on personal experience. We tried to arrange to interview Isaac Newton, but he refused, and continues to refuse, to answer our questions.

2. If all that is said in the video is untrue, why did VOM USA cut off funding to the Stephen’s Center? While they claim they have no responsibility, and will not bring in independent investigators, they do confirm that there was mismanagement and poor conditions.

3. It is wrong to assume that on a short visit to the Stephen’s Center you could learn Isaac Newton’s true character or even living situation. The orphanage is open to visitors, but that doesn’t mean that the those visits aren’t carefully orchestrated. It would obviously make sense that he would hide sins from visitors, and donors, who would find it repulsive. Of course he would say he is living monogamously with his wife. Based on interviews with people who were there, Isaac told the staff and children that they were not allowed to mention certain things to visitors. And because they did not want to lose their, or their family members place at the center, they didn’t.

4. You seem to have misunderstood what the lady was saying about the girls being Isaac’s wives. She was not saying that he was legally married to multiple women, she was saying that Isaac was using the girl’s dorm as his harem. And her testimony is far from the only thing that our statements about where he lived were based on. Jeff Arnette saw he lived in his office when he was at the center, and Isaac even told him that he slept at his office because he was so busy. And just because he said certain things at certain times to certain people doesn’t mean that he was open with this to all visitors to the center, or churches in Nigeria and America. If he has done all these things, he is someone who has developed skills of deceit and intimidation for many years.

5. You say that Isaac would be excommunicated by his church in Nigeria. Do you even know what church he is a member at? He is an ordained pastor, but our understanding is that his church was composed of those who lived at the Stephen’s Center, and he would have the students lead the service and not even do it himself. If this the case, and the allegations in the video are true, you must see that there would be many reasons why they wouldn’t excommunicate him.

6. You say that you want to investigate these allegations. I expect that we will hear from you soon, as I assume that you will do this in a proper and biblical way, not just talking with one side. As the video says, all the testimony is not contained in the video and anyone that who wants to seriously look at this should see that too. We tried to talk with everyone that we could, whether or no they supported Isaac, and hope that you will do the same.

Joshua Horn
Member at Reformation Baptist Church

Thank you for rebutting some of the criticisms the relevant commenter directed at you, Joshua.

I’ll make a few short points of my own. There is no way that person can conduct a credible investigation into allegations of abuse because he/she has made clear that he/she personally knows some of the alleged perpetrators, and simply cannot believe they are guilty just because they appear to be good Christians.

In other words, facts mean nothing to this person.

The primary issue, to me, is the fact that VOM is refusing to conduct a serious investigations into serious allegations of child abuse.

Instead, the organization is hiding behind statements crafted by lawyers trying to protect the organization from lawsuits and maligning the reported victims and anyone who advocates for them.

Is anyone really going to argue that such behavior is Christian or ethical?

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

The VOM organization is a half century old this year.
The founders and many workers in foreign missions have themselves been persecuted and put at extreme
risk over many of the past 50 years. Individual VOM organizations are autonomous and represented in 67 countries. It is a mistake to take the ills and possible mismanagement of a couple of them and use this to destroy all the righteous work that many others have accomplished in Jesus name. The founding Wurmbrand family and all the VOM missionaries should not be scandalized by the sin of a few people.
Yes, the sin and flaws of individuals if confirmed by actual facts, should be exposed and delt with in a corrective action. The victims should also be assisted and protected by any means available. It is deeply disturbing to see any corruption in any organization that exists to represent the ministry of Christ. What is worse is the improper reaction from the Christian community. The thousands of indigenous pastors and persecuted churches that rely on the ongoing efforts of VOM must also be considered. We must be wise about such matters and look at the bigger picture. To throw all VOM ministries throughout the world into the category of corruption could produce an even greater impact for evil then the initial sins committed by only a few. I know first hand of very recent progress missionaries affiliated with VOM have made with refugees in hot zones. These dedicated servants of God do not deserve the attacks from the misguided and the misinformed. Instead, the Christian community especially in the “free” world should obtain specifics and attempt to apply specifically to the individual source of the corruption. The comments I’ve seen on this site seem have leaned toward destruction and condemnation with an all or nothing manner toward the VOM ministry. The entire ministry should not be painted the same color as those who have been corrupted. We need to pray that the innocent are exonerated and the guilty are disciplined in order to see true healing and reconciliation. If my comments offend any of you, I have offered them with experience and reason. I must also state (since there may be some thinking I work for VOM), I am not affiliated with them. I have simply seen the good this oganization has done for many years. Even if you don’t agree with me, can I at least ask you to pray for those faithful servants that are not part of any corruption. Would you join me for Jesus sake to lift up in prayer all the good efforts made by VOM. Lastly would you consider a closer look at this issue as you pray. God’s peace be with you all.

Lydia

Steven, this is exactly how evil works. It hurts totally innocent people and makes all degrees of victims. That is why it is so evil. It’s why it has to be exposed and justice done. You can try to tell people how to respond or even shame them but it often doesn’t work.

And we have the issue that if an organization is that corrupt, it should probably be totally dissolved. A culture was created that is almost impossible to turn around even after being outed.

I hope the people who are innocent are able to find other situations. In Christendom today, it’s hard to know who to trust. Money, power and ego have taken over many churches and para church organizations. I believe there is a definite spiritual call for more simplicity and less hierarchy in kingdom work.

You’re welcome to your opinion, Steven, even though your broad attack comments seem like a form letter that doesn’t apply to the material on this site, which is specific and well researched.

Further please don’t expect much sympathy from most people of integrity if you’re going to devote one line to saying you care about victims of sexual abuse, but 4 paragraphs to whining about how paid employees of a corrupt organizations are suffering.

If VOM wants any sympathy from the public, it needs to own up to its crimes instead of maligning anyone who criticizes the organization.

Thanks again for commenting. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Bill M

“Lastly would you consider a closer look at this issue as you pray.”
I am unable to take a closer look, VOM no longer submits a form 990 and now hides behind that wall of secrecy. Now should VOM hire an truly independent audit that would release a public report, and then tosses aside the religious exemption they obtained recently and start submitting to their donors a form 990, then I’ll take another look. Till then I view the organization with great suspicion and see their current stance as hunkering down till the storm blows over.

Christine

This is not factual information and shoddy reporting. Once again in the name of “good Christians” satan is doing his work to cloud the minds of believers so they will stop funding those organizations who do Christ’s mission. Here is VOM’s official statement on this video. Perhaps contacting them and getting some facts would have helped this to not escalate to this level. http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx?story_ID=%3d383533

Lydia

Christine, considering what has transpired at VOM over the last few years why would anyone find what they say credible? That doesn’t make sense to me. They are the last place I would look foe “facts” as they actually hid “facts” well for so long.

I agree, Lydia. I also have a question for Christine regarding an ethical issue she raised.

Christine, you’ve suggested that publicly expressing an opinion about VOM’s actions, prior to talking with the organization directly, was wrong, a sin, Satanic, etc. etc.

However, haven’t you made it clear that you think the reported victims of VOM are liars who are deliberately mischaracterizing VOM?

If so, did you talk with those individuals directly prior to expressing negative opinions about them online?

If not, why?

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Please also see Reformation Baptist Church’s response to this statement from VOM. Some of their facts seem deceptive, and the statement skirts a lot of the real issues.

https://www.facebook.com/reformationbaptistchurch/posts/1288435574526360

Thanks,Joshua. Given your source, it now seems obvious to me that VOM’s official statement likely contains many outright lies.

However, of course, I encourage others to make their own determination about the evidence presented in this article and its comments section.

Certainly, VOM has the right to rebut the allegations of covering up abuse that it faces presently.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Mr. Jesperson

I am a former worker and volunteer at VOM. I have known since the end of 2002 that something was very, very wrong there. Of all the facts I know and the actual people affected by having a relationship with this ORG that it is a bad tree bearing bad fruit. I know of nothing positive to report. I think it has turned into little more than a scam where the top people care nothing at all about the actual suffering of real live people. Indeed, they have contributed to the suffering of those who had the misfortune of being involved with them. Good trees do not have bad fruit on them. This tree went bad a long time ago back when it was still very small.

I have great respect for the Wurmbrand family and their work over the years.

It is very sad that others have apparently come along and used VOM for their own nefarious purposes.

I hope the allegations are crap, but the cynic in me says that what is being reported here could very well be the tip of the iceberg.

MoniQue

Christine,

Prove it!

I believe Michael Wormbrand, the son of MARTYR Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. Both he, his father and mother Sabina have proven themselves amidst extreme suffering and torture for Christ. It is YOU who hasn’t.

Official statements mean nothing, just more corporate posturing. Actions speak louder than words and prove what is in the heart. Firing Michael Wurmbrand (whose family founded VOM in the first place) for asking for an investigation to the pedophilia committed by Tom White is beyond disgraceful, however typical for those who are a part of this world.

Where love of money is involved the Holy Spirit is NOT.

God doesn’t need corporations.

The only thing that matters on this earth is where each person will spend eternity. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Hell is real. Every cent spent for selfish gain is tallied in heaven and there is hell to pay now and in the world to come. Literally.

–now an ex supporter of VOM

JYJames

Excellent work on this post. Important information.

Debra

I am shocked and horrified by this. Our family has supported VOM for years. We have gone to the headquarters when it was in the old building and cried throughout the whole tour to hear the stories of our persecuted brothers and sisters. We have shown video clips and brought materials when my husband has been a guest preacher at churches. When the news came out about Tom White I was sick for days, thinking about what he might have been doing on all those trips overseas for 20 years while everyone thought he was working for the Lord. Now Michael is speaking out, with suspicions it seems that the sexual abuse of children is widespread among VOM employees. There are no words. Employees of VOM USA fervently raising money to work in luxury conditions and to glut themselves with their demonic and lustful pursuit of perversion, while our brothers and sisters so desperately need money to live? It is unbelievable, I cannot wrap my mind around it all, and yet I believe every word. And Christians in America sacrifice to send money to VOM thinking they are a part of the Lord’s work. One of my dreams for years has been to work with VOM and speak on their behalf as does Darcie Gill. When my husband retired from the USAF and then graduated from seminary we sent a letter to VOM to see if we could serve in Bartlesville as short-term missionaries, which we had dreamed of since our tour 15 years before. The only “jobs” available at the time were in the mail room, and we decided not to. My husband applied for a job there as well. I was heartbroken when we didn’t go and he didn’t get the job. Now today I am thanking the Lord for watching out for us to keep us from participating any more than we have in such demonic activity. I cannot fathom any organization treating the founder’s son who has worked so selflessly and whole-heartedly in the despicable way they have. And yet I believe it is so. I know this is incredibly long, but I am just one of the many many thousands of nameless faceless donors and supporters of VOM who feel incredibly betrayed by an organization who we have given so much to in our small donor way. We would never have been lauded for our large contributions and taken on the private tours, wined and dined and courted if we ever toured the opulent new headquarters. But we are the ones, again nameless among many many thousands who have faithfully given month after month, year after year. VOM is under the control of Satan. Jesus Christ has been betrayed. The Wurmbrand family has been betrayed. Countless children I am absolutely sure have been abused and betrayed. And so have we, the little donors. Do I say May God have mercy on their souls? No. I do not.

Mr. Jesperson

I guess I ended up taking things one step further than you did and, unfortunately, moved to Bartlesville and got involved with this organization. You have no idea what a blessing it is that you did not find jobs with them. It has been a curse and a shame for me. What a rude awakening to what Jesus really meant when He said that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. I now see the clear contradiction involved when Christians are professional full-time fundraisers raising Mammon for Christian Charity and Jesus. Greed is a very corrupting power in the heart. Money is a necessary evil, not a good to be celebrated.

JYJames

Mr. Jesperson,

Thanks for sharing your story publicly. Very brave and much appreciated.

– JYJ

Lydia

I must assume the Nigerian authorities won’t investigate? This is a horror!

JYJames

Nigeria has many issues to deal with. Regarding a recent flight from Bujumbura to Lagos, one of my relatives was telling me that everyone else on the plane was a drug dealer, militia, or arms dealer.

Moreover, as an American, what about the American authorities dealing with VOM at the HQ right in our own Bible Belt, and supported by our hard-working Americans Cut the cord of money flowing in, starve the fraud, right at the source.

I agree, James.

“Moreover, as an American, what about the American authorities dealing with VOM at the HQ right in our own Bible Belt, and supported by our hard-working Americans Cut the cord of money flowing in, starve the fraud, right at the source.”

If a non-profit organization is using money for illicit or illegal activities that can be used as grounds for revoking its non-profit status, to my knowledge. Unfortunately, holding religious organizations accountable for covering up child sexual abuse and doing other awful things is hard for the I.R.S. to do, because people like Christine play the “religious persecution card” in a way that secular organizations cannot.

Using one’s supposed religious beliefs as an excuse to commit heinous crimes is reprehensible, yet very common, in my experience with doing advocacy work regarding child sexual abuse.
Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

JYJames

“Using one’s supposed religious beliefs as an excuse to commit heinous crimes is reprehensible, yet very common, in my experience with doing advocacy work regarding child sexual abuse.”

Thank God that TWW and TATM are putting the truth as a matter of record online so hopefully, Christians will stop supporting questionable “ministries”. The internet is an amazing tool.

Your work is appreciated.